Revisited 12 Myths of Mobile User-Interface Design

While looking for information on mobiles, I came across 12 Myths of Mobile User-Interface Design by Aaron Marcus from February 2005. So I decided to review the myths given the arrival of the iPhone 3G in Australia and other recent changes.

The Myths

Myth: Users want power and aesthetics. Features are everything.

Well with the demand for the iPhone it is aesthetics that win, features are not everything the iPhone lacks video calling, video capture, stereo bluetooth and more.

Myth: What we really need is a Swiss army knife.

No, look at the iPhone it does a few things well.

Myth: 3G is here!

Well 3G has arrived in Australian capital cities, beyond that in Australia you need to rich enough to afford Telstra. In other parts of the world I do not know what it is like, other than AT&T coverage in the US is limited.

Myth: Focus groups and other traditional market analysis tools are the best way to determine user needs.

Agreed, traditional marketing analysis tools can not deal with services that are only being used by a small minority at the moment.

Myth: If it works in Silicon Valley, it will work anywhere.

Agreed at the moment, there is a big discrepancies between network services available in various locations around the world, though I would prefer it if the myth read If it works in Bangalore, India it will work anywhere. As best mobile networks are not necessarily in the USA.

Myth: The killer app will be games, –er, no, I mean, horoscopes or–

This month it is location aware social networking services. I agree that killer app for mobile devices keeps changing, I don’t believe there will ever be a single killer app for mobile devices, but a number of web services that will tip the scales.

Myth: Mobile devices will essentially be phones, organizers, or combinations, with maybe music/video added on.

Well look at the desirable devices on the market, the iPhone 3G, the Nokia N95 8Gb, the HTC Touch Diamond they are phones with organisers, music, video and GPS included. More and more mobile devices are including these features.

Myth: The industry is converging on a UI standard.

Ever used a mobile device with another OS, you will know there is no standards in mobile devices UI.

Myth: Highly usable systems are just around the corner.

I think this myth is busted, the average iPhone does 50 times more web browsing than the average web enabled mobile phone. It is a highly usable system and that is being demonstrated by it’s owners.

Myth: One underlying operating system will dominate.

The only change since 2005, is the decline PALM, the rise of Apple and the forthcoming arrival on Andriod, there will be at least 5 major players in the mobile device OS field.

Myth: Mobile devices will be free-or nearly free.

That is still a myth, because while devices are nearly free they are tied to expensive long term contracts.

Myth: Advanced data-oriented services are just around the corner.

I would like to say this is no longer a myth, advanced data-oriented services are close, I just can not give examples.

So what do you think?

One Response to “Revisited 12 Myths of Mobile User-Interface Design”

  1. John Morrison Says:

    Nick-
    While a lot of the myths remain, I think that one of the truths for mobile devices is that users want to enter raw data at a faster rate. Weather it is a text, or an e-mail people want to enter the text/data and get on with their lives. I see people responding to texts at cafes while their coffee gets cold, and suits at the airport trying to check their e-mail before their flight boards. What advances have you seen in text/data entry? I am curious, I have a patent pending that is related and I have not seen anything on the market that has a good solution to the data entry speed problem.
    -John

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